NPR

Ascendant 'Italians First' Politician Vows Mass Deportations And Challenges EU

Meet Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who has emerged as a powerful hard-liner driving tough anti-immigration stances in Italy's new government.

European Union leaders wrangled over migration policy reforms in an all-night meeting in Brussels. And one of the bloc's newest and loudest critics, the barely month-old government of Italy, is claiming a big win.

In the early hours of Friday, EU states said they agreed on a package of plans, which included key demands from Italy: more support for "front-line" entry countries, stronger efforts to counter people-smuggling and setting up more centers for holding and processing asylum-seekers.

Italy is a front-line country for immigrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean to Europe. Its populist leaders oppose a rule that says the country where migrants first land is responsible for determining whether to let them stay.

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte — in his as he left the meetings Friday.

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